Smell versus Taste with Food

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Taste and smell are something we use every day. From the moment we wake up,we are smelling things all around us. We taste food every single time it enters our mouth. But, do we really know how each of them work?

Every time we put something in our mouths we are able to taste it. Taste is one of the five senses: touch, smell, hear, vision, and taste. Small structures, papillae, found on the surface of the tongue, upper esophagus, and epiglottis are responsible for taste. We have over 10,000 taste buds or papillae. They were first discovered by Georg Meissner(1829-1905) and Rudolf Wagner(1805-1864).The process of tasting is called gustation. Chemical substances in solutions stimulate the cells and they send nerve impulses to the brain, we detect this as taste. The word taste is derived from a Latin word, taxare, meaning “to feel”, “to touch” of “to judge.”

When an individual puts a substance in their mouth, five distinct tastes can be detected. These five distinct sensations or qualities are sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. When any of these tastes touch the tongue, the receptors send signals to the brain on what to interpret. Each taste has a different chemical reaction. For example, when saliva breaks down sodium ions (Na+) or acids, your tongue detects it as salty or sour(Light,2009). The chemical break down for a sweet taste is hard to specify because many chemical elements are involved.

Taste buds are located all around the tongue, the cheeks, and the
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